Ax the “I am who I am” Attitude

ax the i am who i am attitudeIf you’ve been guilty of that classic “I am who I am” attitude, it’s time to give it the ax. This mindset is stifling to innovation and productivity, not to mention toxic to the entire workplace culture. It’s also a very common career derailer and a big reason why mediocre leaders fail to hit their career goals. Great leaders know that the secret to success is to lose the ego, embrace feedback and make personal changes that result in growth and improvement.

Look at feedback as an opportunity to develop. Information is power, and great leaders know that if they can close the gap between what they understand about themselves and how others perceive to be their strengths and weaknesses, they’re more apt to succeed at whatever they do. The best tool for doing this is feedback, e.g., the 360-degree review process offered in MAP’s 2.5-day executive workshop. The information attained here and through other regular, multi-dimensional leadership assessments can empower you to make critical changes that support continual development.

Leverage strengths, minimize weaknesses. I’ve had a challenge with organizational skills in the past. But I don’t stress over it anymore. I’ve learned how to improve my organizational skills to an acceptable degree, and I also ask others who are better at organization to help me with this shortcoming. More importantly, I’ve learned not to dwell or get down about this fact about myself. Nobody expects you to be the best at every aspect of your job, no matter how smart, innovative or talented you might be. Focus on being more effective in general by minimizing your weaknesses and leveraging your strengths to achieve your full potential.

Fight the temptation to resist change. Having worked with countless leaders over the years, I’ve noticed that the #1 reason why their careers stagnate and/or fail is because they resist changing themselves. And oddly, these mediocre types of leaders often proudly wear that attitude like it’s a badge of honor, or some right or entitlement they’ve earned. They’re defensive and often sorely out of tune with their team or direct reports. And eventually, the consequences of that mindset and associated behaviors take their toll, eroding the culture and productivity of the workplace.

Recognize that classic “I am who I am” attitude in a leader you know?

Here’s a Top 10 list of what “I am who I am” offenders might be saying.

  1. “Talk to the hand because the face doesn’t understand.”
  2. “Been there, done that.”
  3. “It’s hard to improve upon perfection.”
  4. “I don’t care what people think.”
  5. “People just don’t understand.”
  6. “Seeking feedback is a sign of weakness.”
  7. “I was here before you got here, and I will be here long after you leave.”
  8. “Everything I do, I feel is genius. Whether it is, or it isn’t.” —  Charlie Sheen
  9. “I am not arrogant because I am not wrong.”
  10. “It’s hard to be right all the time.”

What else is an indicator of that classic “I am who I am” attitude?


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